By Jeanenne Tornatore for the Orbitz Travel Blog
There's nothing like being home for the holidays, but if you can't make it there, go somewhere you know will completely embrace the spirit of the season with plenty of glowing lights, bustling Christmas markets, and cheery events galore. These six cities are some of the best towns for Christmas.
1. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
This 400-year-old walled city lights up like no other during the holidays, with a European ambiance, 16 and 17-century stone houses and plenty of snow. Quebec City's charming Quartier Petit Champlain is one of the most magical parts of town with its thousands of lights and Christmas decorations strewn throughout the boutique-lined streets. At the outdoor ice rink at Place d'Youville visitors can skate to the sound of Christmas music and at the open-air German Christmas Market, shoppers can sample German mulled wine, cookies, gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, Bratwurst and local products. Just a few steps away from the National Museum of Fine Arts, a walk down Cartier Street showcases giant lampshades dressed with artwork that illuminates the way. The grand holiday finale is an outdoor party on New Year's Eve at Québec City's Grande Allée, complete with DJ's, street artists, concerts and fireworks. And don't miss the stunning view of Quebec City from the big Ferris wheel open from December 27th to 31st
2. Asheville, North Carolina
From a tour of America's grandest holiday home to strolling artisan shops, a visit to Asheville during the holidays is a sweet Southern experience. Biltmore Estate, America's largest home, first opened its doors to guests on Christmas Eve in 1895, and it continues to wow visitors with more than 60 decorated trees, thousands of feet of garland and hundreds of poinsettias, and a 35-foot Fraser fir that stretches to the ceiling of the great Banquet Hall. Visitors to this majestic estate will can take part in the Candlelight Christmas Evenings, with an epic tour accompanied by music, stories and flickering fireplaces. Also not to miss is the National Gingerbread Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Browse more than 150 gingerbread creations, made entirely of edible items. And cross items off everyone's wish in this long-time artist community's diverse shopping districts, with independently-owned jewelry design studios, art galleries, and boutiques that offer unique gifts that blend this city's bohemian spirit with the area's rich Southern Appalachian craft tradition.
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania